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27 Apr, 2020 18:47

What pandemic? German minister blasted for wearing NO MASK to receive Covid-19 supplies AND flouting social distancing rules

What pandemic? German minister blasted for wearing NO MASK to receive Covid-19 supplies AND flouting social distancing rules

Germany’s defense minister seems to have missed the memo on ‘social distancing’ and compulsory mask-wearing, showing up to receive a shipment of pandemic supplies wearing nothing on her face but a smile, prompting ridicule online.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer appeared at Leipzig/Halle Airport on Monday, flanked by aides and army personnel (in surprisingly close proximity) and surrounded by a huddle of tightly-packed reporters — almost as if there was no global pandemic to be worried about.

AKK (as she is known in Germany) was there to greet the Bundeswehr-chartered Antonov An-225 cargo plane as it touched down with over 10 million face masks on board. The delivery was part of a mammoth package of supplies arriving from China this week, which has received extensive coverage in the German media and was intended to showcase the army’s role in battling the Covid-19 outbreak.


However, Kramp-Karrenbauer’s maskless face attracted more attention online than the military’s PR exercise. Protective face coverings on public transport or while shopping became compulsory in almost every German state as of Monday. Social distancing is also being preached, and has been for quite a while now — but it seems that word of the new rules and the government’s own advice may not be spreading as fast as the virus.

It wasn’t only AKK who failed at following the Covid-19 guidelines; the majority of aides, other officials and army personnel standing behind her were also not wearing masks. As for the reporters swarming the minister, only a few had them — and none appeared to be particularly interested in social distancing, either. 

It wasn’t long before German netizens began ridiculing the minister for the easily preventable blunder. “I support your policy, but if you can't stick to it yourself…,” one Twitter user wrote.

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“Kramp-Karrenbauer should seriously consider resigning after the Corona Party she hosted at Leipzig/Halle Airport! All citizens have to abide by the rules except the Berlin bigwigs,” another said.

“AKK and some 100 journalists receive 10 million masks at Leipzig Airport. She will greet each mask personally and take selfies,” another person joked.

The backlash even prompted a reply from the Ministry of Defense, which admitted in a tweet that “not everyone followed the rules in Leipzig today.” 

“We regret this very much and will also examine our own organization,” the ministry said, adding that the rules must be followed by everyone.

Germany has recorded some 6,000 deaths due to Covid-19 and is beginning to slightly ease its lockdown measures. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against reckless behavior, and urged caution, saying the country is still on “thin ice.”

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It’s not the first time high-profile government officials have been slated for ignoring their own pandemic guidelines. In the UK, a cabinet minister was slammed after it was revealed that he had travelled 40 miles to visit his parents, despite telling Britons to stay at home and refrain from unnecessary travel. Meanwhile, in Australia, a senior government minister was slammed for relocating to his holiday home outside Sydney amid the coronavirus lockdown.

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